Robert Meachem’s Triumphant Return
There was a lot to talk about after a huge Saints win, so let’s get them out of the way now:
- Our defense is legitimately good
- Cam Jordan may be our best player (Drew Brees, Jahri Evans, and Jimmy(!) Graham may have something to say about that, but Jordan at least elevated himself into the conversation)
- Our defense is legitimately good
- Jimmy(!) Graham is the king of tight ends
- Robert Meachem caught his first touchdown pass since returning to the Saints
While these are all amazing, and I could easily write thousands of words praising Jimmy(!) Graham and Cam(!) Jordan, today I’m going to focus on what I hope doesn’t go overlooked this week: the return of Robert Meachem.
Meachem left the Saints after the 2011 season in free agency because San Diego paid him a ton of money. I don’t think any Saints fan blamed him for this.
As a football player, you have every right to make all the money you can in your relatively short career. But things didn’t work out so great for Robert in San Diego. I don’t really feel the need to dive into that too much, but after one truly unspectacular season and an unimpressive preseason, the Chargers cut Meachem despite him being one of the highest-paid players on the team.
Within 24 hours, Meachem had signed a contract with the Saints and was on his way back home to us.
It’s often hard to remember the humanity of our sports heroes. Football players are hidden behind pads and helmets and, rather than as people, we often think of them as chess pieces to be moved across the board for our entertainment.
Robert Meachem’s first quarter touchdown catch was largely unremarkable from a football perspective. It was a great play design, but probably not one of the best Sean Payton devised this week. It was a great throw by Drew Brees, but probably not one of the best he’ll throw this year. It was a good catch by Meachem, who immediately flipped the ball to the fans, but it was not the most memorable play of his career as a Saint (that, of course, is this play).
But then I listened to his press conference after the game and I was treated to something special: A man who has had a rough 24 months speaking from the heart about his career, his livelihood, and about how his return to the Saints meant more to him than we could know. It was hard to overlook his quick interview after the game. I can’t remember ever listening to a post-game press conference where the player’s voice waivers with emotion. It was a moment I won’t forget for a long time.
I went ahead and transcribed it for y’all. There’s real emotion behind these words. I had a hard time not welling up just listening to this.
After such a huge win, it’s hard not to feel the great vibes around this 2013 Saints team.
This group, paradoxically, led by the defense, could be a truly special team, so take a moment, read Meachem’s interview, enjoy being 3-0, and relish in the best Saints juju since we beat up the Lions in an NFC wildcard game 624 days ago.
**Update 2** WWL just posted the video of the press conference. I strongly urge you to go ahead and watch it:
How good is it to be a Saint again?
Does the smile help? It’s one of the best feelings in the world, ya know? Being back home, being appreciated. Everything that you go through is for a reason. And just being back here; actually scoring a touchdown in the ‘Dome again…Against the Saints, and then now I come back and score a touchdown with the Saints, so great feeling.
Sean Payton has a lot of faith in his young receiver, Nick Toon, and he sat him down this week and started you, what does that say about Robert Meachem, the player?
He’s just going with the veteran guy, I have more experience, I guess. For me? I’m thanking coach every day, especially when he made that call, and said “you got a job.” Because you don’t know what it’s like to not have a job. I mean, I was happy, and my wife was like “what’s wrong? You just got fired, ya know” and I said “don’t worry, we’ll have a job.”
To just being on the team, you find out how you appreciate stuff more.
The team is 3-0. Does this feel eerily similar to other seasons, where you see this youthful exuberance on the field and this roster.
I think for us, we just gotta take it one game and one practice at a time. Don’t jump ahead or look backwards. This is our future, we got a lot of young guys and they’re buying. We’re 3-0, but anything can happen, so like I said, you gotta take it one game, one practice at a time and don’t look too far ahead.
Robert, what’s it like to have a touchdown catch?
The touchdown catch was great. The only problem was I thought Jimmy was supposed to jump and take it. He said the same thing, he said “I almost jumped,” and I was like “yeah if you had jumped, you woulda had three touchdowns today. But it felt so good to score. I was kind of mad at myself, because I used to have a ritual when I was here, an underhand toss the ball to the fans and I really should have kept that ball2 I mean, that ball, that meant a lot to me, but hey, some fan got it, so it’s alright.
Apparently a nun has Meachem’s touchdown ball. She’s the most adorable nun ever and I really hope we can get a nice little photo op of the nun flipping the ball (underhanded, obviously) to Robert. Maybe Meachem could also give her a high five? Maybe they can do a Who Dat chant together?
Guy seated immediately in front of me caught that ball Meach tossed into crowd; gave it to the nun in front of him. pic.twitter.com/pp8SvkYG1q
— Rick (@PureMushin) September 22, 2013
OF COURSE a nun has the ball. I am so happy and this is the best possible development to the story. If there are any updates, we’ll be sure to keep y’all informed.
A nun! Who Dat!